Tennis fans shouldn’t expect Roger Rasheed to coach Nick Kyrgios any time soon.
Kyrgios has has hit out at the Australian mentor, after Rasheed questioned why the enigmatic youngster played doubles while injured at the US Open.
Kyrgios drew scathing criticism from seven-time grand slam winner John McEnroe after he retired with a hip problem after losing the second and third sets to Illya Marchenko in the third round.
But it was Rasheed’s suggestion that Kyrgios should not be playing doubles that the 21-year-old took exception to.
Kyrgios and Dan Evans, the born-again bad boy of British tennis, reached the third round of the doubles in New York before withdrawing from the event.
“John McEnroe takes a stab, I understand, Roger Rasheed haha maybe not so much. I got to ur (your) career high when I was 18… ease up champ,” Kyrgios tweeted on Tuesday.
Rasheed on Monday reiterated his calls for Kyrgios to take on a fulltime coach, believing this could have helped manage the pre-existing injury.
“This is the difference between having a coach and not having a coach,” Rasheed told Sky Sports Radio.
“If you were looking after Nick in this situation, you would say: `OK you’re playing singles, on the days off there’s no doubles’.
“You may not even hit on those days because we’re looking after your body so you can play singles and play it effectively.”
Rasheed’s comments came after McEnroe questioned Kyrgios’ passion for the sport, suggesting a lack of focus in preparation may have led to the injury.
“Nick Kyrgios, if you don’t want to be a professional tennis player, do something else,” McEnroe said while commentating on US television.
“He’s hurt because he’s not training enough.”
Rasheed, who has previously coached Lleyton Hewitt, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov, hinted he was interested in mentoring Kyrgios last December.
He has typically been supportive of the world No.16, coming to his defence throughout a number of controversies this year.
But Rasheed did earn the ire of Bernard Tomic in May when he suggested he played without passion, prompting the Australian No.2 to question the coach’s credentials.
Rasheed played down the latest controversy with Kyrgios on Tuesday morning, suggesting his original quotes from Monday may have been taken out of context.
“I’m a fan of what he can do, and could do, in the sport,” he said.
“My positives are about a way that could have allowed him to potentially extend his journey in the US Open.”